💲 Milltown, NJ, faces huge spike in water bills

❓ Is it a one-time fix or a permanent increase?

😡 Critics say it could have been avoided

Residents and businesses in a Middlesex County town are likely to be shocked when they receive their water bills.

The Millstone Borough Council has approved a rate increase that nearly doubles what residents are currently paying.

A 90% rate increase will be effective October 1, 2024. Sewer rates are also increasing.

It was revealed at a recent council meeting the borough was facing a deficit of $344,000 in the water-sewer budget and town officials say that deficit must be reconciled in the final quarter of 2024.

Each household will pay at least $150 more. Businesses with high water use could see even bigger increases.

This was not a surprise

Many residents and business owners are furious at the sudden increase and say town officials knew this was a looming crisis, yet did nothing to stop it.

A new six-year contract was signed with New Brunswick water. It included a 3% annual rate increase, but the rate increase was never enacted.

The borough was able to offset higher costs with grant money from the American rescue Plan.

Milltown Chief Financial Officer Joseph Zanga admitted the deficit was not unexpected and said it will be recurring.

Is the rate increase temporary or permanent?

That is not clear.

The current ordinance and 90% increase is set to expire on December 31, 2024. At that time, water and sewer rates will revert back to where they were at the start of 2024.

However, the deficit will recur for 2025.

That leaves Milltown officials to decide how they want to deal with it. They could seek the cut other expenses from the local budget or seek state and/or federal money to try and deal with the shortfall.

Council President Richard Revolinsky was asked by NJ.com what the future holds.

"What those (water-sewer rates) look like at this time I can't say," he said, "We need to look at the projections, but we need to generate the revenue."

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